The Best of PPC & CRO from ADworld Experience 2017
Conversion Optimisation

The Best of PPC & CRO from ADworld Experience 2017

31st May 2017

Last month in Bologna (Italy) was the 6th edition of ADworld Experience, one of the largest PPC events in Europe (and the top 3 in the world).  This was a great event and it is rare to have both a PPC and CRO conference 100% dedicated to PPC & CRO real case studies.

As an organizer of the conference, I was able to review participant’s feedback of all sessions and will share with you a few of the ones people gave feedback on the most (and of the cases winning the international PPC Caesars Award 2017).

On the first day there were two really great CRO sessions by Karl Gilis (the 3rd most influent CRO specialist in the world, according to PPCHero annual report) and David Walker (co-founder of Segmatic) + two PPC focused ones by Samantha Noble (2016 UK Search Personality) and Markéta Kabátová (one of  the most renowned Czech SEA).  Here are the key takeaways of all these speeches.

Gilis reported a huge number of Conversion Optimization tests done on several different sites, whose findings could be summarized in the following points:

  1. Make sure you know why people visit your site (and focus on their goals, not only on your ones);
  2. look closely to the copy used in the site more than on design and frictional problems, the second ones very rarely can kill Conversion Rates like the first ones (stop selling the way you want and start using the way people want to buy);
  3. you will not have a second first impression ever (visitors need to see what they are looking for in seconds, so, less big headers & sliders and more bulleted points);
  4. remove distractions & clutters (your goal as designer is not to add all the stuff you can, but to keep only elements that will add to the bottom line);
  5. be unique (find your “way” and stand out of the crowd);
  6. not everything has to be up the line, people do scroll, you only need to give them a reason to do it (and show it up the line);
  7. the right hand side of a site is the graveyard of the Internet (amen);
  8. make your Call To Actions stand out in your design and repeat it if necessary (letting CTA text to fully explain what will happen after the click);
  9. show your most expensive items first (set the right context for your bestsellers) and add urgency, social proof & reviews.

On the second day of the event, Karl explained 10 reasons why CRO is like first dates, showing many of this principles effectively applied to real landing pages. His case was the most voted by live participants, thus winning 2017 PPC Caesars Award (and I personally could not have agreed more on this choice).

Dave Walker showed several errors and false positives he has seen in his CRO professional experience, extracting some very interesting best practices to create a correct testing methodology.

  • First of all you have to match users’ search intent with the copy of your landing page.  Traffic coming from different search queries could have huge differences in behavior in your test.
    Before changing the copy or some layout elements of a landing page to test it, ask yourself if you should pause or change some of your PPC keywords accordingly, and, anyway, when considering results check if users arriving from different queries behave differently because of their intents and expectations set by your ads and not for your CRO tests.
  • Second.  Different copy in landing pages and Call To Actions will usually attract different users.  Some CTAs which may win in terms of immediate conversions, may result attracting occasional and small budgeted users in the long run.  You have to consider the consumer lifetime value too when testing to increase ROI.
  • Third.  Do not take decision on short flies.  Always be sure to let numbers be really significant and to overcome the “flip coin effect” (casual results initially giving strong false positives).

On the second day of the event, David also showed a very interesting PPC case history about sculpting shopping campaigns impressions with long tail search terms.  David explained how setting at least 3 campaigns for the same products with different priorities and negative correspondences can give incredible outcomes in terms of coverage of long tail queries, with entire shopping results widgets dominated by products form the same advertisers for very specific high converting searches.
The case was considered so interesting by participants to result the second most voted one.  My compliments to David.

The third best case study of day 2 was presented by Markéta Kabátová (uLab), one of the most brilliant PPC specialists in Czech Republic. She gave us all a fantastic example of how a simple, but genius, idea can be disruptive in very well optimized campaigns too.  She analyzed users’ reviews, using tools like and the text analisys plugin for Google Sheets, and rewrote ads using main concepts expressed in ratings, getting CTR increases from 30% up to 90%!

Besides this real exploit in case studies, on the first day Markéta held a seminar about going international in PPC campaigns.  Markéta firstly showed how to choose what to market in which countries using tools like Google Global Market Finder & and giving a lot of suggestions about managing different languages, time fuses and payment methods.  Secondly she explained how to set campaign localizations for each country starting from naming convention of campaigns to end with the simplifying of the translation process with tools like the =GoogleTranslate(“text”,”source lang”,”target lang”) operator in a Google Sheet.

Besides awarded cases, a special mention from the organizer (me) goes to Samantha Noble’s seminar on day 1 of the event.  She showed which tools she constantly use in her day to day PPC campaigns optimizations and how to set them to obtain the best results.

I sincerely hope that this small recap will be helpful.  Anyway you can find all video recordings of these seminars and cases at

May the ROI be with you 😉


Written By
Freelance AdWords & CRO professional, Gianpaolo is among the first Italian web marketing professionals and ideated ADworld Experience, one of the largest PPC events in the world.
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